How to Take Care of Canna Plants

Overview

Canna is a stunningly beautiful tropical plant that loves hot weather. In warm climates, canna is considered to be a perennial and will produce new rhizomes after the blooming season that will pop up the following spring. With a little extra care, canna can be grown as an annual in cooler climates. Cannas are often referred to as "canna lily" and are available in a rainbow of colors such as pale pink, orange, yellow and bright red.

Step 1

Let a garden hose trickle on cannas every day during the hot days of summer. Cut back slightly on cool, cloudy days, and stop watering entirely in early September.

Step 2

Fertilize canna every two weeks during spring and early summer using a good quality liquid fertilizer. Switch to a dry fertilizer in mid-summer, scattering it around the base of the plant. Don't fertilize canna after early September.

Step 3

Cut the canna's stalks down to about 1 inch when the plant turns brown in autumn, using garden shears or scissors. Dig the clumps of rhizomes with a garden fork or pitchfork.

Step 4

Remove some of the soil around the edges and roots of the rhizomes, leaving some of the soil in place. Set the clumps upside down and let them dry in the sun for two or three days. Discard any rhizomes that appear small, soft or diseased.

Step 5

Store the dried clumps of rhizomes in cardboard boxes filled with perlite, which is a lightweight organic material that enhances drainage and aeration. Space the rhizomes far enough apart so they aren't touching. Put them in a dry room where the temperature remains about 40 to 50 degrees. Mist the perlite once a month so the rhizomes don't dry out.

Step 6

Remove the rhizomes from the perlite in March, and remove any remaining dirt. Divide the rhizomes into smaller clumps, making sure that each one has at least three nodes, or eyes.

Step 7

Plant the canna rhizomes in a sunny place in your garden, and be sure they are covered with at least 4 to 5 inches of soil. Water and fertilize them as directed.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose
  • Fertilizer (liquid and dry)
  • Pruning shears or scissors
  • Garden fork
  • Garden trowel
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Perlite

References

  • Paul's Canna (Canna X generalis) Page
  • Information About Canna
Keywords: canna, rhizomes, liquid fertilizer

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.